Why moths are in the spotlight this weekend

Moth Night is challenging you to find a particular group of moths.

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Scarce crimson and gold moth (Pyrausta sanguinalis)

Scarce crimson and gold moth (Pyrausta sanguinalis) © Marcell Kárpáti / Butterfly Conservation

 

Moth experts have revealed that an increasing number of new moth species are arriving and settling in the UK due to horticultural trade and changing climate.

During this year’s Moth Night, an annual UK-wide event to record and celebrate moths, organisers are asking the public to look for pyralid moths in their gardens, the countryside and at specially organised moth trapping events.

“Pyralids are a captivating but relatively poorly known group of moths,” says Marc Botham, an ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

“The three days and nights of Moth Night 2018 are an ideal opportunity to search for them in your garden or further afield. By submitting your sightings via our website you are helping with research to understand the status of UK wildlife.”

 

Three common pyralid moths:

 

Almost 30 new species of pyralid moth have been recorded in the last 30 years, with eight becoming established residents. Pyralid moths include some of the largest and most distinctive of the 1,600 species of micro-moths found in the UK.

 

The small magpie moth (Anania hortulata) is one of the larger micro-moths, and is very distinctive © Iain Leach / Butterfly Conservation

 

This increase comes at a time when many of the UK’s moths are in decline due to habitat loss and agricultural intensification.

Scientists require current sightings to determine how these under-recorded moths are faring across the UK and identify new species.

 

The mint moth (Pyrausta aurata) is commonly seen in gardens, but is very similar in appearance to Pyrausta purpuralis © Mark Parson / Butterfly Conservation

 

Moth Night runs between 14-16 June, and is organised by Atropos, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. To discover a Moth Night event near you visit the website.

 

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